Did you know that the percentage of children in the United States that are living in poverty is actually significantly higher than it was back in 2008? When I write about an “economic collapse”, most people think of a collapse of the financial markets. And without a doubt, one is coming very shortly, but let us not neglect the long-term economic collapse that is already happening all around us. In this article, I am going to share with you a bunch of charts and statistics that show that economic conditions are already substantially worse than they were during the last financial crisis in a whole bunch of different ways. Unfortunately, in our 48 hour news cycle world, a slow and steady decline does not produce many “sexy headlines”. Those of us that are news junkies (myself included) are always looking for things that will shock us. But if you stand back and take a broader view of things, what has been happening to the U.S. economy truly is quite shocking. The following are 12 ways that the U.S. economy is already in worse shape than it was during the depths of the last recession…
#1 Back in 2008, 18 percent of all Americans kids were living in poverty. This week, we learned that number has now risen to 22 percent…
There are nearly three million more children living in poverty today than during the recession, shocking new figures have revealed.
Nearly a quarter of youngsters in the US (22 percent) or around 16.1 million individuals, were classed as living below the poverty line in 2013.
This has soared from just 18 percent in 2008 – during the height of the economic crisis, the Casey Foundation’s 2015 Kids Count Data Book reported.
#2 In early 2008, the homeownership rate in the U.S. was hovering around 68 percent. Today, it has plunged below 64 percent. Incredibly, it has not been this low in more than 20 years. Just look at this chart – the homeownership rate has continued to plummet throughout Obama’s “economic recovery”…
#3 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, government dependence has skyrocketed to levels that we have never seen before. In 2008, the federal government was spending about 37 billion dollars a year on the federal food stamp program. Today, that number is above 74 billion dollars. If the economy truly is “recovering”, why is government dependence so much higher than it was during the last recession?
#4 On the chart below, you can see that the U.S. national debt was sitting at about 9 trillion dollars when we entered the last recession. Since that time, the debt of the federal government has doubled. We are on the exact same path that Greece has gone down, and what you are looking at below is a recipe for national economic suicide…
#5 During Obama’s “recovery”, real median household income has actually gone down quite a bit. Just prior to the last recession, it was above $54,000 per year, but now it has dropped to about $52,000 per year…
#6 Even though our incomes are stagnating, the cost of living just continues to rise steadily. This is especially true of basic things that we all purchase such as food. As I wrote about earlier this year, the price of ground beef in the United States has doubled since the last recession.
#7 In a healthy economy, lots of new businesses are opening and not that many are being forced to shut down. But for each of the past six years, more businesses have closed in the United States than have opened. Prior to 2008, this had never happened before in all of U.S. history.
#8 Barack Obama is constantly telling us about how unemployment is “going down”, but the truth is that the percentage of working age Americans that are either working or considered to be looking for work has steadily declined since the end of the last recession…
#9 Some have suggested that the decline in the labor force participation rate is due to large numbers of older people retiring. But the reality of the matter is that we have seen a spike in the inactivity rate for Americans in their prime working years. As you can see below, the percentage of males between the ages of 25 and 54 that aren’t working and that aren’t looking for work has surged to record highs since the end of the last recession…
#10 A big reason why we don’t have enough jobs for everyone is the fact that millions upon millions of good paying jobs have been shipped overseas. At the end of Barack Obama’s first year in office, our yearly trade deficit with China was 226 billion dollars. Last year, it was more than 343 billion dollars.
#11 Thanks to all of these factors, the middle class in America is dying. In 2008, 53 percent of all Americans considered themselves to be “middle class”. But by 2014, only 44 percent of all Americans still considered themselves to be “middle class”.
When you take a look at our young people, the numbers become even more pronounced. In 2008, 25 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 29-year-old age bracket considered themselves to be “lower class”. But in 2014, an astounding 49 percent of all Americans in that age range considered themselves to be “lower class”.
#12 This is something that I have covered before, but it bears repeating. The velocity of money is a very important indicator of the health of an economy. When an economy is functioning smoothly, people generally feel quite good about things and money flows freely through the system. I buy something from you, then you take that money and buy something from someone else, etc. But when an economy is in trouble, the velocity of money tends to go down. As you can see on the chart below, a drop in the velocity of money has been associated with every single recession since 1960. So why has the velocity of money continued to plummet since the end of the last recession?…
If you are waiting for an “economic collapse” to happen, you can stop waiting.
One is unfolding right now before our very eyes.
But what most people really mean when they ask about these things is that they are wondering when the next great financial crisis will happen. And as I discussed yesterday, things are lining up in textbook fashion for one to happen in our very near future.
Once the next great financial crisis does strike, all of the numbers that I just discussed above are going to get a whole lot worse.
So as bad as things are now, the truth is that this is just the beginning of the pain.
On Friday, the federal government announced that the U.S. economy contracted at a 0.7 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2015. This unexpected shrinking of the economy is being primarily blamed on “harsh” weather during the first three months of this year and on the strengthening of the U.S. dollar. Most economists are confident that U.S. GDP will rebound back into positive territory when the numbers for the second quarter come out, but if that does not happen we will officially meet the government’s criteria for being in another “recession”. To make sure that the numbers for Q2 will look “acceptable”, the Bureau of Economic Analysis is about to change the way that it calculates GDP again. They are just going to keep “seasonally adjusting” the numbers until they get what they want. At this point, the government numbers are so full of “assumptions” and “estimates” that they don’t really bear much resemblance to reality anyway. In fact, John Williams of shadowstats.com has calculated that if the government was actually using honest numbers that they would show that we have continually been in a recession since 2005. That is why I am referring to this as a “recession within a recession”. Most people can look around and see that economic conditions for most Americans are not good, and now they are about to get even worse.
For quite a while I have been warning that another economic downturn was coming. Well, now we have official confirmation from the Obama administration that it is happening. The following is an excerpt from the statement that the Bureau of Economic Analysis released on Friday…
Real gross domestic product — the value of the production of goods and services in the United
States, adjusted for price changes — decreased at an annual rate of 0.7 percent in the first quarter of
2015, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth
quarter, real GDP increased 2.2 percent.
The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for
the “advance” estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, real GDP increased 0.2 percent.
With the second estimate for the first quarter, imports increased more and private inventory investment
increased less than previously estimated (for more information, see “Revisions” on page 3).
The decrease in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected negative contributions from
exports, nonresidential fixed investment, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, and residential fixed investment.
And actually, Q1 GDP would have been far worse if not for a very large inventory buildup. Without that inventory buildup, Q1 GDP would have been in the neighborhood of negative three percent according to Zero Hedge. Despite the happy face that most analysts are putting on these numbers, the truth is that they reveal some deeply troubling trends.
One of the things that is driving this current downturn is the fact that our trade balance continues to get even worse. In other words, the gap between how much we buy from the rest of the world and how much we sell to the rest of the world is growing.
During the first quarter, imports surged by 5.6 percent. That means that we are buying more from the rest of the planet than we did before.
Unfortunately, during the first quarter of this year exports dropped by a staggering 7.6 percent. That means that the amount of stuff that we are selling to the rest of the planet is falling precipitously.
When our trade deficit expands, we lose jobs, businesses and economic infrastructure at an even faster pace. This is why I write about trade issues so much. Our economy is being absolutely eviscerated, and the Obama administration is pushing another giant trade deal which will greatly accelerate this process.
We are committing national economic suicide by running colossal trade deficits year after year. But instead of addressing our problems, our “leaders” just continue to conduct business as usual.
And to make themselves look good, they just keep manipulating the numbers until they seem “reasonable”. As I mentioned above, the negative number for Q1 is causing a lot of consternation in Washington, so now the Bureau of Economic Analysis is going to modify the way that GDP is calculated once again. The following comes from Bloomberg…
The way some parts of U.S. gross domestic product are calculated are about to change in the wake of the debate over persistently depressed first-quarter growth.
In a blog post published Friday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis listed a series of alterations it will make in seasonally adjusting data used to calculate economic growth. The changes will be implemented with the release of the initial second-quarter GDP estimate on July 30, the BEA said.
Although the agency adjusts its figures for seasonal variations, growth in any given first quarter still tends to be weaker than in the remaining three, economists have found, a sign there may be some bias in the data. It’s a phenomenon economists call “residual seasonality.”
Why can’t they just give us honest numbers?
Meanwhile, we also learned on Friday that corporate profits declined again during the first quarter of 2015. This was the second quarter in a row that we have seen this happen. The following comes from CNS News…
The BEA report also released data on corporate profits, which showed a decrease from the previous quarter. ‘Profits from current production decreased $125.5 billion in the first quarter, compared with a decrease of $30.4 billion in the fourth,’ BEA said.
Can you guess the last time that corporate profits declined for two quarters in a row?
It was in 2008.
So many of the exact same red flags that popped up seven years ago are popping up once again.
I know that I must sound like a broken record, but right now there are more signals that another major economic downturn is approaching than there has been at any other time since I started The Economic Collapse Blog in 2009.
Hopefully this summer will be relatively quiet, but I fully expect for events to start accelerating significantly during the second half of this year.
So if you have things that you need to get done before the next crisis arrives, you better hurry up, because time is quickly running out.
If the U.S. economy really is improving, then why are big U.S. retailers permanently shutting down thousands of stores? The “retail apocalypse” that I have written about so frequently appears to be accelerating. As you will see below, major U.S. retailers have announced that they are closing more than 6,000 locations, but economic conditions in this country are still fairly stable. So if this is happening already, what are things going to look like once the next recession strikes? For a long time, I have been pointing to 2015 as a major “turning point” for the U.S. economy, and I still feel that way. And since I started The Economic Collapse Blog at the end of 2009, I have never seen as many indications that we are headed into another major economic downturn as I do right now. If retailers are closing this many stores already, what are our malls and shopping centers going to look like a few years from now?
The list below comes from information compiled by About.com, but I have only included major retailers that have announced plans to close at least 10 stores. Most of these closures will take place this year, but in some instances the closures are scheduled to be phased in over a number of years. As you can see, the number of stores that are being permanently shut down is absolutely staggering…
180 Abercrombie & Fitch (by 2015)
75 Aeropostale (through January 2015)
150 American Eagle Outfitters (through 2017)
223 Barnes & Noble (through 2023)
265 Body Central / Body Shop
66 Bottom Dollar Food
25 Build-A-Bear (through 2015)
32 C. Wonder
120 Chico’s (through 2017)
200 Children’s Place (through 2017)
17 Christopher & Banks
70 Coach (fiscal 2015)
70 Coco’s /Carrows
300 Deb Shops
340 Dollar Tree/Family Dollar
39 Einstein Bros. Bagels
50 Express (through 2015)
31 Frederick’s of Hollywood
50 Fresh & Easy Grocey Stores
65 Future Shop (Best Buy Canada)
54 Golf Galaxy (by 2016)
50 Guess (through 2015)
127 Jones New York Outlet
10 Just Baked
28 Kate Spade Saturday & Jack Spade
400 Office Depot/Office Max (by 2016)
63 Pep Boys (“in the coming years”)
100 Pier One (by 2017)
20 Pick ’n Save (by 2017)
1,784 Radio Shack
13 Ruby Tuesday
10 SpartanNash Grocery Stores
55 Staples (2015)
133 Target, Canada (bankruptcy)
31 Tiger Direct
200 Walgreens (by 2017)
10 West Marine
338 Wet Seal
80 Wolverine World Wide (2015 – Stride Rite & Keds)
So why is this happening?
Without a doubt, Internet retailing is taking a huge toll on brick and mortar stores, and this is a trend that is not going to end any time soon.
What we find is that over the past 6 months we had a tremendous drop in true discretionary consumer spending. Within the overall downtrend we do see a bit of a rally in February but quite ominously that rally failed and the bottom absolutely fell out. Again the importance is it confirms the fundamental theory that consumer spending is showing the initial signs of a severe pull back. A worrying signal to be certain as we would expect this pull back to begin impacting other areas of consumer spending. The reason is that American consumers typically do not voluntarily pull back like that on spending but do so because they have run out of credit. And if credit is running thin it will surely be felt in all spending.
The truth is that middle class U.S. consumers are tapped out. Most families are just scraping by financially from month to month. For most Americans, there simply is not a whole lot of extra money left over to go shopping with these days.
In fact, at this point approximately one out of every four Americans spend at least half of their incomes just on rent…
More than one in four Americans are spending at least half of their family income on rent – leaving little money left to purchase groceries, buy clothing or put gas in the car, new figures have revealed.
A staggering 11.25 million households consume 50 percent or more of their income on housing and utilities, according to an analysis of Census data by nonprofit firm, Enterprise Community Partners.
And 1.8 million of these households spend at least 70 percent of their paychecks on rent.
The surging cost of rental housing has affected a rising number of families since the Great Recession hit in 2007. Officials define housing costs in excess of 30 percent of income as burdensome.
For decades, the U.S. economy was powered by a free spending middle class that had plenty of discretionary income to throw around. But now that the middle class is being systematically destroyed, that paradigm is changing. Americans families simply do not have the same resources that they once did, and that spells big trouble for retailers.
As you read this article, the United States still has more retail space per person than any other nation on the planet. But as stores close by the thousands, “space available” signs are going to be popping up everywhere. This is especially going to be true in poor and lower middle class neighborhoods. Especially after what we just witnessed in Baltimore, many retailers are not going to hesitate to shut down underperforming locations in impoverished areas.
And remember, the next major economic crisis has not even arrived yet. Once it does, the business environment in this country is going to change dramatically, and a few years from now America is going to look far different than it does right now.
On Saturday night, the city of Baltimore resembled a warzone as protests over the death of Freddie Gray turned wildly violent. One eyewitness reported watching the streets around him and his friend “turn into madness” as they left a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles. Car windows were smashed, stores were robbed, chairs were thrown and large numbers of random bystanders were attacked. One prominent Democrat claims that those committing the violence were “mainly from out of town“, but how would he know that? Today, there are approximately 2.7 million people living in the Baltimore metropolitan area. It is an area that has been known for poverty, crime and drugs for many years, and as racial tensions continue to increase in this country it is a powder keg that could erupt at literally any time. We got a preview of what can happen on Saturday night. If this is how people will act while economic conditions are still relatively stable in this country, what in the world is going to happen when things really start falling apart?
On Saturday, April 11th, I delivered a presentation down in Dallas, Texas in which I warned about the rioting and civil unrest that are soon coming to this nation. On slide number 145 of the presentation, I specifically named the city of Baltimore as one of the cities where this would happen. But I had no idea that the rioting in Baltimore would begin so quickly. And the violence that we saw on Saturday night was at a level that was quite shocking. The following is how the Daily Mail described some of the chaos that ensued…
Local news captured live footage of a man throwing a flaming trash can at the police line.
A group of roughly 100 protesters broke out a window of a department store with a chair they got at a restaurant across the street at The Gallery, a downtown shopping mall.
The same group broke the windows of restaurants including a Subway sandwich shop near Camden Yards, tossing chairs and tables through the glass.
Protesters also engaged with a group of Orioles fans at Slider’s Bar and Grille and began fighting with patrons.
This kind of thing is not supposed to happen in America.
But it is happening. Ferguson set the precedent, and now this is going to spread all over the country.
You can see some excellent photographs of the chaos that happened in Baltimore right here, and in the video posted below several young thugs smash out the front window of a police cruiser as dozens of onlookers cheer them on…
I also want to share with you another video, but I need to warn you about it first. This YouTube video strings together a bunch of clips of some of the worst of the violence, but it also contains some very graphic language. So please don’t let any young children watch this. I felt that it was important to share this because we need to really understand what is happening to our cities. America is changing, and not for the better. This is what social decay looks like…
Are you starting to get the picture?
Things were so bad outside of the stadium where the Baltimore Orioles play that some of the Orioles actually thought about spending the night inside the clubhouse.
One of the things that is being ignored by many in the mainstream media is that fact that one of the key organizers of the Baltimore protests is a former national chairman of the New Black Panther Party named Malik Shabazz. These days, he is the president of an organization known as “Black Lawyers for Justice”, but he is definitely still up to his old tricks. The following is an excerpt from an article about the Baltimore riots in the New York Times…
There, Malik Shabazz, president of Black Lawyers for Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based group that called for the demonstration and advertised it on social media, told the crowd that he would release them in an hour, adding: “Shut it down if you want to! Shut it down!”
Mr. Shabazz said in a later interview that his rhetoric was intended only to encourage civil disobedience — not violence — but added that he was “not surprised” by the scattered angry outbursts because people here “haven’t received justice.”
If you are marching for “justice”, you don’t throw objects at random bystanders, loot stores or attack vehicles that are just driving through the area. But all of those things happened on Saturday night. The following is how an eyewitness described one of the most harrowing attacks…
The crowd of protesters then stopped a blue station wagon carrying a white family as they tried to drive past Pickles, Bullpen and Sliders along a narrow one-way stretch between the bars and the main road. As a horde of them smashed their open and closed fists on the hood of the car—while impeding them by standing in front of them—the driver backed up on the one way pass in a desperate attempt to get out of dodge. Then, stopped on the other side with nowhere to go, protesters ripped open the passenger door of the car and began reaching around inside the vehicle. As hundreds of people looked on, including several police officers who didn’t engage the violent protesters, the white woman in the front seat—middle-aged and a little heavyset with dark hair—was visibly terrified. The group of black men who ripped open the car door suddenly realized they were separated from the larger group of protesters and abandoned their quest to seemingly either carjack the station wagon or rob the people inside in front of hundreds, driving out of the one-way street back onto the main road and presumably out of dodge.
Of course all of this did not just erupt out of a vacuum. Racial tensions on all sides have been stirred up by the mainstream media, by our politicians, and by other prominent national leaders for years. At this point, even pastors are inflaming the tensions…
Activist Jamal Bryant, pastor of Empowerment Temple AME Church, told his congregation Sunday that “somebody is going to have to pay” for Gray’s death, the Associated Press reported.
If “you’re black in America, your life is always under threat,” Bryant said.
Why can’t we all just learn to love one another, forgive one another, and peacefully come up with some solutions that are going to work for all of us?
Sadly, all of this hate and anger is just another sign of the social decay that is eating away at the foundations of our society like a cancer.
And if people are willing to act like this when our economy is still relatively stable and things are still relatively good in this nation, what are they going to do when they don’t have any money in their pockets and they don’t know where their next meal is going to come from?
What we witnessed in Baltimore on Saturday night is just the beginning.
Much worse is coming, and eventually we are going to see tremendous civil unrest and rioting all over this nation.
So what do you think about all of this? Please feel free to share your opinion by posting a comment below…
Can you imagine going to work each day knowing that there are lots of people out there that would love to see you dead? Despite what a lot of Americans may think, it takes real courage to be a police officer in this country today. Every time you put on that uniform and walk out the front door, it might be the very last time that you ever see your spouse and family. Yes, there is a whole lot of needless police brutality in the United States in 2015, and I am going to address that later in this article. But most police officers are just regular people that are trying to do their jobs and serve their communities. And on Wednesday, we got a reminder of just how dangerous those jobs can be. At around midnight on Wednesday, two Ferguson police officers were ambushed. A 32-year-old officer named Webster Groves was shot just beneath his right eye, and another 41-year-old officer was hit in the shoulder. Sadly, this is probably only just the beginning. Racial tensions continue to escalate, and we are on the verge of a great financial crisis which will cause economic conditions in our cities to deteriorate rapidly. By the end of this decade, I fully expect civil unrest, rioting, looting and mindless violence to become commonplace in large cities all across America. In such an environment, it will be extremely dangerous to be a police officer.
The good news for the two police officers that got shot in Ferguson is that it looks like they are going to be okay.
But the same cannot be said for many other police officers that have been ambushed over the past year.
According to CNN, the number of police officers that were shot to death increased by more than 50 percent in 2014…
The number of law enforcement officers shot to death in the line of duty is up by more than 50% this year, and the leading method of those shootings was ambush-style attack.
That’s according to the nonprofit Washington-based National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which released its findings Tuesday.
And like I said, this is probably only just the beginning.
Sadly, a whole lot more police are going to die before this is all over.
You can try to blame this latest incident in Ferguson on a “deranged individual” if you want, but I think that the reactions that we saw on social media to these police shootings say a whole lot about where we are as a country.
In the immediate aftermath of the shootings, a lot of people were actually celebrating. The following is a sampling of comments from Twitter…
-#ChiefJackson steps down and two pigs get shot? Best day #Ferguson has had in years
-im glad 2 pigs wounded in #Ferguson lol
-#Ferguson kill the pigs
-serves those two pigs right, i hope organized public militancy continues #ferguson
-#Ferguson pigs shouldnt grab ppl; thugs deserved it. Wish it was #DarrenWilson. Sound familiar? #MichaelBrown #VonderittMyers #AntonioMartin
-Racist cops shot not gonna cry 4 pigs #Ferguson
-I heard two pigs in #Ferguson got shot? We’re they left on the ground bleeding out and dead like Mike Brown?
-hopefully they’ll be off the street for a long time. two less pigs out harassing & kidnapping people. #Ferguson
Could you imagine trying to be a police officer in Ferguson in this kind of environment?
The mainstream media and many national leaders on the left end of the spectrum have been stirring up strife and division for months on end. So now a toxic environment has been created which is inevitably going to lead to even more violence. At some recent “protest marches”, we have heard demonstrators enthusiastically chant extremely threatening slogans such as this: “What do we want? Dead cops!” And when news broke that Ismaaiyl Brinsley had brutally murdered two NYPD police officers, lots of very twisted people on Twitter were actually celebrating.
The sick thing is that there are a lot of people out there that actually want to turn this into a full-blown war. Some want a race war, some want a “war on cops”, and others just seem to want a general excuse for crime, looting and mayhem.
Unfortunately, if I am right, this is just a small preview of what we can expect in the years ahead. Just like we have witnessed in Ferguson, I anticipate that we will eventually see a number of our larger cities burn.
And it never had to be this way.
Why can’t we all just love, respect and honor one another?
Yes, police brutality in the United States is wildly out of control. In many areas of the nation, police officers are actually trained to bark orders, act like thugs and physically abuse people at the drop of a hat. Our entire culture of policing needs to change.
For those of us who have managed to survive 2014 with our lives intact and our freedoms hanging by a thread, it has been a year of crackdowns, clampdowns, shutdowns, showdowns, shootdowns, standdowns, knockdowns, putdowns, breakdowns, lockdowns, takedowns, slowdowns, meltdowns, and never-ending letdowns.
We’ve been held up, stripped down, faked out, photographed, frisked, fracked, hacked, tracked, cracked, intercepted, accessed, spied on, zapped, mapped, searched, shot at, tasered, tortured, tackled, trussed up, tricked, lied to, labeled, libeled, leered at, shoved aside, saddled with debt not of our own making, sold a bill of goods about national security, tuned out by those representing us, tossed aside, and taken to the cleaners.
Now a large segment of our population either detests the police or is extremely fearful of ever dealing with them.
Is that a recipe for a healthy society?
Police brutality has become a permanent part of our culture, and that has got to change. If it doesn’t, protests against the police are going to get worse and worse.
But what most protesters don’t seem to understand is that we actually need the police.
Without the police, our society would descend into utter chaos very rapidly. Thanks to unchecked illegal immigration, there are approximately 1.4 million gang members roaming our cities now. And the moral decay that we see all around us is getting worse with each passing year. We are a nation that is absolutely teeming with addicts, sickos, perverts and psychopaths. I don’t even want to imagine what our society would look like without police.
Like I said, most police officers are just average people that are trying to do their jobs and serve their communities.
Unfortunately for them, their jobs are becoming a lot more difficult and a lot more dangerous.
So what do you think? Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…
Did you know that the rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen to a 20 year low? Did you know that it has been falling consistently for an entire decade? For the past couple of years, the economic optimists have been telling us that the economy has been getting better. Well, if the economy really has been getting better, why does the homeownership rate keep going down? Yes, the ultra-wealthy have received a temporary financial windfall thanks to the reckless money printing the Federal Reserve has been doing, but for most Americans economic conditions have not been improving. This is clearly demonstrated by the housing chart that I am about to share with you. If the economy really was healthy, more people would be getting good jobs and thus would be able to buy homes. But instead, the homeownership rate has continued to plummet throughout the entire “Obama recovery”. I think that this chart speaks for itself…
Of course this homeownership collapse began well before Barack Obama entered the White House. Our economic problems are the result of decades of incredibly bad decisions. But anyone that believes that things have “turned around” for the middle class under Barack Obama is just being delusional.
The U.S. homeownership rate fell to the lowest in more than two decades in the fourth quarter as many would-be buyers stayed on the sidelines, giving the rental market a boost.
The share of Americans who own their homes was 64 percent in the fourth quarter, down from 64.4 percent in the previous three months, the Census Bureau said in a report. The rate was at the lowest since the second quarter of 1994, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Rising prices and a tight supply of lower-end listings have put homes out of reach for some entry-level buyers, who also face strict mortgage standards. The share of U.S. homebuyers making their first purchase dropped in 2014 to the lowest level in almost three decades, the National Association of Realtors reported last week.
And it appears that this trend is actually accelerating. During 2014, the rate of homeownership plummeted by a total of 1.2 percentage points for the year. That was the largest one year decline that has ever been measured.
So why is this happening?
Well, in order to buy a home you have got to have a good job, and good jobs are in very short supply these days.
Over the past decade, the quality of the jobs in our economy has steadily declined as good jobs have been replaced by low paying jobs. In addition, government policies are absolutely murdering small business. At this point, small business ownership in the U.S. is hovering near record lows.
This has resulted in millions of people falling out of the middle class, and it has contributed to the growing divide between the wealthy and the rest of the country.
If our economy was working the way that it should, the middle class would be thriving.
But instead, it is being systematically destroyed. If you doubt this, I have some statistics that I would like to share with you. The following facts come from my previous article entitled “The Death Of The American Dream In 22 Numbers“…
#1 The Obama administration tells us that 8.69 million Americans are “officially unemployed” and that 92.90 million Americans are considered to be “not in the labor force”. That means that more than 101 million U.S. adults do not have a job right now.
#2 One recent survey discovered that 55 percent of Americans believe that the American Dream either never existed or that it no longer exists.
#3 Considering the fact that Obama is in the White House, it is somewhat surprising that 55 percent of all Republicans still believe in the American Dream, but only 33 percent of all Democrats do.
#4 After adjusting for inflation, median household income has fallen by nearly $5,000 since 2007.
From a very early age, we push our young people to go to college, and today more of them are getting secondary education than ever before.
But when they leave school, the “good jobs” that we promised them are often not there, and most of them end up entering the “real world” already loaded down with massive amounts of debt.
According to the Pew Research Center, close to four out of every ten households that are led by someone under the age of 40 are currently paying off student loan debt.
It is hard to believe, but total student loan debt in this country is now actually higher than total credit card debt. At this point, student loan debt has reached a grand total of 1.2 trillion dollars, and that number has grown by an astounding 84 percent just since 2008.
If you are already burdened with tens of thousands (or in some cases hundreds of thousands) of dollars of debt when you get out of school and you can’t find a decent job, there is no way that you are going to be able to afford to buy a house.
So we have millions upon millions of young people that should be buying homes and starting families that are living with their parents instead.
Back in 1968, well over 50 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 31-year-old age bracket were already married and living on their own.
Make no mistake – there is now a state of open warfare on the streets of America. Earlier this year it was being reported that the number of police officers killed on the job was up 40 percent in 2014, and that was before all of the civil unrest caused by the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. At this point, attacks on police officers are becoming a frequent occurrence all over the country, but no incident has stunned the nation as much as the “execution-style” murder of two NYPD officers on Saturday by a radical Islamic gunman identified as Ismaaiyl Brinsley. Just prior to the attack, Brinsley posted a message on Instagram in which he declared that he was “putting wings on pigs today”. Many would like to dismiss this as an “isolated incident” and pretend that everything is just fine in America, but that is not the truth. The reality of the matter is that anti-police sentiment in this country is at an all-time high, and the level of anger and frustration in our increasingly radicalized urban communities has reached a boiling point. As economic conditions continue to deteriorate and police tactics become even more brutal in the years ahead, the kind of rioting, looting and senseless violence that we witnessed in Ferguson is going to become commonplace in major cities all over the United States.
The mainstream media and many national leaders on the left end of the spectrum have been stirring up strife and division for months on end. So now a toxic environment has been created which is inevitably going to lead to even more violence. At some recent “protest marches”, we have heard demonstrators enthusiastically chant extremely threatening slogans such as this: “What do we want? Dead cops!” And when news broke that Ismaaiyl Brinsley had brutally murdered two NYPD police officers, lots of very twisted people on Twitter were actually celebrating.
We are moving into a period of time when it is going to be extraordinarily difficult to be a police officer in America. I couldn’t even imagine going to work every day knowing that you could become the next target at any time.
Yes, there have been lots of abuses. In fact, I have written dozens of articles about the emerging Big Brother police state in America. In many areas of the country today, our police officers are actually being trained to be physically brutal, to bark orders at ordinary citizens and to treat everyone around them like dirt. This culture of brutality and oppression filters down from the very top, and so ultimately the root of the problem is at the federal level.
But most police officers that are serving our local communities are just average people trying to do their jobs. Without the police, crime would be wildly out of control. So I am very thankful for the police in my local area. I sleep better at night knowing that they are there.
And the reality of the matter is that we have made their jobs so much tougher. Thanks to unchecked illegal immigration, there are now approximately 1.4 million members of criminal gangs living in our cities. And the Obama administration is allowing the UN to import thousands of Muslim radicals to communities all over the nation. The police have to deal with well-armed threats that they simply did not have to face 40 or 50 years ago. Our society is becoming increasingly unstable, and the police have to contend with the bleeding edge of that instability day after day.
So Ismaaiyl Brinsley did not appear out of a vacuum. Even though the mainstream media is playing this angle down, the truth is that Ismaaiyl Brinsley was probably a member of an extremely violent criminal gang, and he was most definitely a radical Muslim.
According to his Facebook page, Brinsley spoke Arabic, and he also posted extreme passages from the Koran. The following is one example…
And as I mentioned above, his most famous message on social media was actually shared on Instagram…
But Brinsley was not just a Muslim radical. According to Aaron Klein of WND, there is also evidence that he was a member of a particularly violent gang known as the Black Guerilla Family…
The gang to which NYPD cop killer Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley may have belonged, the Black Guerilla Family, is allied with U.S. leftist groups and worked as an ideological partner with Bill Ayers’ Weather Underground terrorist organization.
The New York Daily News reported investigators went to Baltimore to probe Brinsley’s ties to the Black Guerrilla Family, which dominates the Maryland prison where Brinsley spent time. The BGF is an African-American Marxist revolutionary organization that seeks the overthrow of the U.S. government.
Numerous Baltimore media outlets confirmed law-enforcement officials are probing the BGF link.
And is it just a coincidence that the FBI issued a memo on Friday warning that the BGF was targeting “white cops”?…
On Friday, the Baltimore FBI office issued a memo that the Black Guerrilla Family gang was targeting “white cops” in Maryland, an agency spokeswoman confirmed. The memo, circulating among officers, said a contact who had given reliable information in the past said members of the gang — connected to the high-profile corruption scandal at the Baltimore City Detention Center — were planning to target white officers to “send a message.”
There are a lot more radicals out there just like Brinsley.
And thanks to the toxic environment that now exists in this country, it is inevitable that there will be a lot more violence.
As this war escalates, we could eventually see pandemonium in major cities from coast to coast.
If you are not convinced that this is a war, perhaps you should heed the words of the NYPD’s union. The following is an excerpt from an alert that was just released…
Starting IMMEDIATELY: At least two units are to respond to EVERY call, no matter the condition or severity, no matter what type of job is pending, or what the opinion of the patrol supervisor happens to be.
IN ADDITION: Absolutely NO enforcement action in the form of arrests and or summonses is to be taken unless absolutely necessary and an individual MUST be placed under arrest.
These are precautions that were taken in the 1970’s when police officers were ambushed and executed on a regular basis.
The mayor’s hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words actions and policies and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a ‘wartime’ police department. We will act accordingly.
Sadly, I believe that they are right.
In fact, if it wasn’t for an empty gun, a third NYPD police officer would have lost his life this past weekend…
A third cop narrowly escaped with his life Saturday night when a suspect pointed a gun directly at the officer’s head and pulled the trigger in The Bronx — not realizing it was empty.
Cops went to East 140th Street in Mott Haven at 9 p.m. on reports of a man shooting out windows with a .357 caliber revolver.
They spotted the suspect, identified as Raymond Leonardo, 18, and ordered him to drop the gun. Instead, he took point blank aim at one of the officers, officials said.
When the gun didn’t work, he put it in his pocket and ran. Cops tackled him a few blocks away.
Something has fundamentally shifted in this country.
I fear that this is only just the beginning of the war on the streets of America.
Hopefully I am wrong.
But I don’t believe that I am.
So what do you think?
Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…
How do you fix a superpower with exploding levels of debt, that has a rapidly aging population, that consumes far more wealth than it produces, and that has scores of zombie banks that could collapse at any moment. You might think that I am talking about the United States, but I am actually talking about Europe. You see, the truth is that the European Union has a larger population than the United States does, it has a larger economy than the United States does, and it has a much larger banking system than the United States does. Most of the time I write about the horrible economic problems that the U.S. is facing, but without a doubt economic conditions in Europe are even worse at the moment. In fact, there are many (including the Washington Post) that are calling what is happening in Europe a full-blown “depression”. Sadly, this is probably only just the beginning. In the months to come things in Europe are likely to get much worse.
First of all, let’s take a look at unemployment. If the U.S. was using honest numbers, the official unemployment rate would probably be somewhere close to 10 percent. But in many nations in Europe, the official unemployment rate is already above the ten percent mark…
The official unemployment rate for the eurozone as a whole is currently 11.5 percent. The lack of good jobs is causing the middle class to shrink all over Europe, and more people than ever are becoming dependent on government assistance. European nations are well known for their generous welfare programs, but all of this spending is causing debt to GDP ratios to absolutely explode…
At the same time, the value of the euro has been steadily declining over the last six months. This is significantly reducing the purchasing power that European families have…
Many believe that the euro will ultimately go much lower than this. Nations such as Greece and Spain are already experiencing deflation, and the inflation rates in Germany and France are both currently below one percent. If the European Central Bank starts injecting lots of fresh euros into the system to combat this perceived problem, that will lift the level of inflation but it will also further erode the value of the euro.
In the long run, it would not be a surprise to see the U.S. dollar at parity with the euro.
When it happens, remember where you heard it.
The Europeans are scared to death of a deflationary depression, but that is precisely where the long-term economic trends are taking them right now. The following is from a recent Forbes article…
Market consensus believes that the eurozone is edging toward that moment when the scourge of deflation actually becomes a crippling reality. Eurozone data is constantly reminding investors that the region’s economy is barely limping along, as companies slash selling prices in a vain attempt to improve sales in the face of a weakening economy and evaporating new orders. Corporate deflationary reactions like this only hurt a company’s bottom line by squeezing profit margins even further. The obvious knock-on effect will limit resources for hiring and investing, which in turn only dampens any chances of an economic rebound, again putting the region into a bigger hole.
In a desperate attempt to avoid widespread deflation in Europe, the ECB will inevitably take action at some point.
Speaking of currencies, it is being reported that Russia is actually considering legislation that will ban the circulation of the U.S. dollar in that nation. The following is from an article that was posted on Infowars…
Russia may ban the circulation of the United States dollar.
The State Duma has already been submitted a relevant bill banning and terminating the circulation of USD in Russia, APA’s Moscow correspondent reports.
If the bill is approved, Russian citizens will have to close their dollar accounts in Russian banks within a year and exchange their dollars in cash to Russian ruble or other countries’ currencies.
Otherwise their accounts will be frozen and cash dollars levied by police, customs, tax, border, and migration services confiscated.
That is not good news for the U.S. dollar at all.
Expect wild shifts in the foreign exchange markets in the months and years to come. Turbulent times are ahead for the dollar, the euro and the yen.
Getting back to Europe, let us hope that things stabilize over there – at least for a while.
But that might not happen. In fact, things could take a turn for the worse at any moment.
Most people don’t realize this, but European banks are even shakier than U.S. banks, and that is saying a lot.
For example, the largest bank in the strongest economy in Europe is Deutsche Bank. At this point, Deutsche Bank has approximately 75 trillion dollars worth of exposure to derivatives. That amount of money is about 20 times the size of German GDP, and it is more exposure than any U.S. bank has.
And Deutsche Bank is far from alone. All over Europe there are zombie banks that are essentially insolvent. Many of them are being propped up by their governments. Those governments know that if those banks failed that it would make their economic problems even worse.
Just like in the United States, most economic activity in Europe is fueled by debt. So those banks are needed to provide mortgages, loans and credit cards to average citizens and businesses. Unfortunately, bad debt levels and business failures continue to shoot up all over Europe.
The system is breaking down, and nobody is quite sure what is going to happen next.
So keep an eye on Europe. In particular, keep an eye on Italy. I have a feeling that big economic news is about to start coming out of Italy, and it won’t be good.
In 2014, we have been experiencing “the calm before the storm”.
But 2015 is right around the corner, and it promises to be extremely “interesting”.
When people feel like they don’t have anything else to lose, they are likely to do just about anything. Many in the mainstream media seem absolutely mystified as to why there is so much anger in Ferguson, but as I pointed out yesterday, all of this anger did not erupt out of a vacuum. Economic conditions in Ferguson, and for African-Americans as a whole, have been deteriorating for years. Sadly, many white Americans are totally oblivious to any of this. Many of them have absolutely no idea that the unemployment rate for black Americans is more than twice as high as it is for white Americans or that the average white household has 22 times as much wealth as the average black household. But these are things that black communities are acutely aware of. Many African-Americans that live in poor neighborhoods deeply resent the fact that most of the people that live in the “good neighborhoods” are white while most of the people that live in “bad neighborhoods” are people of color. In fact, in America today a black child is nearly four times as likely to live in an impoverished neighborhood as a white child is. And when you throw endless police brutality and growing racial division in America into the mix, it is easy to understand why so many black Americans are so angry and frustrated these days.
Things didn’t have to turn out this way. If we had all learned how to love one another and not judge one another by skin color, we could have had the kind of society that Martin Luther King once dreamed about…
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we’re free at last!”
But instead we have allowed ourselves to become increasingly divided. And I am sure that fact will once again be reflected in the comments following this article. There is so much anger and hatred in America today, and people seem to love to express their anger and hatred on the Internet.
For white Americans (myself included), I think that it would be good for us to put ourselves in the shoes of the people of Ferguson for a few moments. For years, the economy of Ferguson has been declining. The following is how Brookings summarized the current economic situation…
The city’s unemployment rate rose from less than 5 percent in 2000 to over 13 percent in 2010-12. For those residents who were employed, inflation-adjusted average earnings fell by one-third. The number of households using federal Housing Choice Vouchers climbed from roughly 300 in 2000 to more than 800 by the end of the decade.
Amid these changes, poverty skyrocketed. Between 2000 and 2010-2012, Ferguson’s poor population doubled. By the end of that period, roughly one in four residents lived below the federal poverty line ($23,492 for a family of four in 2012), and 44 percent fell below twice that level.
And as the New York Times recently detailed, racial tensions have been rising in the city for a very long time…
As African-Americans moved into the city and whites moved out, real estate agents and city leaders, in a pattern familiar elsewhere in the country, conspired to keep blacks out of the suburbs through the use of zoning ordinances and restrictive covenants. But by the 1970s, some of those barriers had started to fall, and whites moved even farther away from the city. These days, Ferguson is like many of the suburbs around St. Louis, inner-ring towns that accommodated white flight decades ago but that are now largely black. And yet they retain a white power structure.
Although about two-thirds of Ferguson residents are black, its mayor and five of its six City Council members are white. Only three of the town’s 53 police officers are black.
So it is understandable why a lot of Ferguson residents are so angry and so frustrated.
Alternatively, there is absolutely no excuse for how brutally the (mostly white) police have handled peaceful protesters and the media. The police have been using smoke bombs, tear gas, flash bang grenades, rubber bullets and LRAD sound cannons against protesters that are not even armed. Meanwhile, the police have been doing next to nothing to stop criminals from looting stores and businesses all over Ferguson. It has pretty much been a textbook case of what not to do during a period of civil unrest.
Hopefully cooler heads will prevail and things will calm down in Ferguson soon.
But that doesn’t mean that the underlying problems will have been fixed. The truth is that I believe that this is just a preview of what is coming to America in the years ahead. And much of the anger and frustration that is bubbling just under the surface in our communities has an economic element to it. The following are 10 startling facts about the massive economic gap between white America and black America that we see in our country today…
#1 For decades, the unemployment rate for black Americans has consistently been more than twice as high as the unemployment rate for white Americans. In July 2014, the official unemployment rate for white Americans was 5.3 percent. Meanwhile, the official unemployment rate for black Americans was 11.4 percent.
#2 A report released earlier this year discovered that the “underemployment rate” for African-American workers was 20.5 percent. But for white Americans it was only 11.8 percent.
#3 A study released back in 2012 found that the average white household has 22 times as much wealth as the average black household.
#4 African-American households make up only about 13 percent of the population, but they receive more than 26 percent of the food stamp benefits.
#5 One study discovered that 82 percent of white students graduate from high school but only 63.5 percent of black students do.
#6 Pew Research found that the income gap between white Americans and black Americans has continued to grow ever since the late 1960s…
The difference in median household incomes between whites and blacks has grown from about $19,000 in 1967 to roughly $27,000 in 2011 (as measured in 2012 dollars).
#7 In the United States today, 12 percent of white children live in areas of concentrated poverty, but 45 percent of African-American children do.
#8 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 19.9 percent of white children live in single parent homes. But for black children, the number is an astounding 52.1 percent.
#9 Since 1960, the percentage of white American adults that are married has declined from 74 percent to 55 percent. But for African-Americans the decline has been even more dramatic. Since 1960, the percentage of black American adults that are married has declined from 61 percent to 31 percent.
So how do we solve these problems? People have been debating this for years, but nothing ever seems to actually get accomplished.
Meanwhile, the middle class continues to collapse and things continue to get even tougher for African-American communities. The following is an excerpt from a recent piece that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote for Time magazine entitled “The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race“…
Dystopian books and movies like Snowpiercer, The Giver, Divergent, Hunger Games, and Elysium have been the rage for the past few years. Not just because they express teen frustration at authority figures. That would explain some of the popularity among younger audiences, but not among twentysomethings and even older adults. The real reason we flock to see Donald Sutherland’s porcelain portrayal in Hunger Games of a cold, ruthless president of the U.S. dedicated to preserving the rich while grinding his heel into the necks of the poor is that it rings true in a society in which the One Percent gets richer while our middle class is collapsing.
That’s not hyperbole; statistics prove this to be true. According to a 2012 Pew Research Center report, just half of U.S. households are middle-income, a drop of 11 percent since the 1970s; median middle-class income has dropped by 5 percent in the last ten years, total wealth is down 28 percent. Fewer people (just 23 percent) think they will have enough money to retire. Most damning of all: fewer Americans than ever believe in the American Dream mantra that hard work will get them ahead.
I wish that I could be more optimistic about the future of this country.
I wish that I could believe that we won’t see a tremendous amount of chaos in the streets of America in the years ahead.
Unfortunately, the truth is that what is happening in Ferguson right now is just the tip of the iceberg. Once we hit the next major wave of our ongoing economic collapse, unemployment and economic despair in our major cities are going to grow rapidly. This will fuel more anger, more frustration, more protests, more looting and more rioting.
It has been said that desperate people do desperate things. And in the years ahead, ordinary Americans are going to become increasingly desperate.